Apple has signed a deal with a British startup to develop a drone that can take off and land vertically using only two propellers.
The deal with Redington, the world’s largest drone manufacturer, will make the drone a low-cost alternative to the industry’s most expensive and widely used, the Amazon Echo.
Redington says its drones will be affordable to low-income communities by allowing them to land on roofs and on other flat surfaces such as sidewalks and parking lots.
The drone’s propellers will be lightweight and made of carbon-fiber composite materials, making it safer to fly and easier to maintain, the company says.
The drones are expected to be ready by 2021, which would be four years after the Echo’s initial public offering, which began in 2017.
The deal will enable the company to test drones before they hit the market, which is why Redington said it is still in the “early stages” of development.
Apple’s purchase of Redington’s drone business will allow the company “to take advantage of the vast amount of innovation and expertise within the drone industry,” Apple said in a statement.
It also gives the company access to drone development expertise in the U.K.
The acquisition will also allow Apple to focus its drone efforts on developing “more robust and highly-efficient aircraft for the drone market,” the company said.